The British government wants more time to renegotiate with Brussels
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    The British government wants more time to renegotiate with Brussels

    © Belga
    © Belga

    British Prime Minister Theresa May will ask MPs for more time to renegotiate another Brexit deal with Brussels. This was announced by the State Secretary for Housing, James Brokenshire, on Sunday. 

    The UK is supposed to leave the EU on the 29th of March, but what form this historic ‘divorce’ will take is not yet clear. The vast majority of British MPs rejected the deal Theresa May spent months negotiating with Brussels on the 15th of January. 

    The leader of the Tory party is now trying to obtain compromises from Brussels that could get MPs to back her deal, but discussions always fall apart with regards to the Irish ‘backstop’. 

    The House of Commons will decide on their strategy on Thursday. On Sunday, James Brokenshire told the BBC that the government would ask Parliament if it wanted another debate on the various possible Brexit options before the end of February if no new agreement can be reached before that. This would allow them to keep control of the process. 

    The government’s original plan was for MPs to vote on what happens next with Brexit on Thursday if there is no agreement by Wednesday. 

    “We will of course have a Parliamentary debate next week and the government will table a very important motion”, Mr Brokenshire said. “I think it is also important to say that the government will allow another motion to be submitted if there has not been another vote on the Brexit deal by the 27th of February”. 

    The main British opposition party, Labour, criticised this move to play for time. It said there were currently only two choices: Theresa May’s Brexit deal or a “no-deal” Brexit. Economists say a no-deal is the worst-case scenario. 

    Theresa May “claims she is making progress, but in reality, she is just playing for time”, Labour’s Brexit secretary Keir Starmer told the Sunday Times. “Next week, Parliament should say “enough is enough” and take control of the situation”, he said.  

    Sarah Johansson
    The Brussels Times